Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunprint Transfers, Part 1

With the Labor Day weekend coming up, you might have time to try a fun technique that combines heliographic printing on fabric with inket image transfers on fabric. While I work on handouts for a new class this week, I'll post instructions for sunprint transfers in installments.

This particular transfer technique requires water-soluble inkjet ink, which gets transferred from the transparency film to the fabric with the aid of a wet fabric paint. Don't try this with a laser printer. And if you just want to do sun printing, there's a good tutorial at Dharma using Setacolor fabric paints. You can substitute the thinner Dye-na-Flow paints, but don't add more than a splash of water.

For sunprint transfers you'll need the following:
  • Inkjet transparency film (NOT the quick-dry type). Look for a 10-pack of Hammermill brand at the big box store. (As with any inkjet transfer "paper," do not run it through a laser printer.)
  • Dye-na-Flow fabric paint. If you don't already have this versatile product on hand, you can order it from Dharma. They call it "silk paint," but it works on other fabrics as well. I used the color Brass in the sample above.
  • Fabric. My sample was done on cotton, but you could use silk.
  • Foam board. I use a piece of Dow foam board. You could use recycled foamcore board, an old seat cushion, or something else to pindown your fabric so it doesn't blow away.
  • Pins. See above.
  • Brush. I use a cheap foam brush.
  • Spritzer of plain water. Doesn't take much.
  • Sun. 
Printing The Film
Inkjet transparency transfers often work best when printed a couple of days before you're ready to make the transfer. So if you get a chance, go ahead and print your image onto the film.
  • This technique works best with high-contrast images. 
  • Center the image element on the page, leaving plenty of space around it. 
  • Read the package instructions to learn how to load and print the inkjet transparency film (generally, the coated side you print on is slightly rougher). 
  •  8/31 Addition: Like many transfer techniques, this one reverses as the ink is moved from one surface (the transparency) to another (the fabric). Look in your Print Properties options and select "Mirror Image" before you print.
While you print and gather the rest of your materials, I'll get back to work on class prep.

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